Booed and heckled by Tottenham supporters, Nuno Espirito Santo was fired on Monday following his fifth loss in 10 Premier League matches in charge of the club.
Now Tottenham has turned again to trying to hire Antonio Conte, one of the coaches it sought to recruit in a chaotic off-season process that ended up with Nuno being far from the first choice for the job.
Nuno’s dismissal, after only four months in the job, followed a 3-0 home loss to Manchester United on Saturday when his decisions were jeered and fans chanted “You don’t know what you’re doing” at the Portuguese coach.
In an increasingly volatile atmosphere, supporters also shouted “We want Levy out” at chairman Daniel Levy, who has now decided change is required again after firing Jose Mourinho in April.
The club said Nuno and his coaching staff had been “relieved of their duties” and that an update on the coaching “will follow in due course,” with no successor announced.
If a deal can be struck with Conte, it would mark a return to London after leaving Chelsea in 2018. Conte won the Premier League and FA Cup during two years in charge of the west London club and he departed financially-challenged Inter Milan after winning the Serie A title in May.
The Italian has the track record of winning major trophies that Nuno was lacking. He leaves with Tottenham in eighth place in the Premier League, 10 points behind leader Chelsea and five points behind fourth-placed West Ham in the pursuit of a Champions League place.
“I know how much Nuno and his coaching staff wanted to succeed and I regret that we have had to take this decision,” Tottenham managing director Fabio Paratici said. “Nuno is a true gentleman and will always be welcome here. We should like to thank him and his coaching staff and wish them well for the future.”
There was a prolonged 72-day search for Mourinho’s successor, via a spell with academy coach Ryan Mason as interim manager. Tottenham tried to re-hire Mauricio Pochettino and pursued Paulo Fonseca, Gennaro Gattuso and Conte before handing a two-year contract to Nuno.
The former Wolverhampton manager immediately had to grapple with the uncertainty over the future of Harry Kane, who was denied a move to Manchester City and has looked a shadow of the striker who was top scorer in the Premier League last season. Kane’s one goal in nine Premier League games and the failure to get a shot on target against United is reflective of Tottenham’s malaise.